Cameron Norrie’s rise to tennis stardom

I think it safe to say that as of Sunday October 16 this year, the tennis world now know who Cameron Norrie is after they eventually sat up and took serious notice of the name.

“Cameron Norrie” by Carine06 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

It was on the afternoon of that special Sunday that the young man extricated himself from the flock of “wannabee” tennis players with unpronounceable names and projected himself into the upper echelons of the professional sport.

This was the day in the Californian desert town of Indian Wells that 26-year-old Norrie – grandson of former Daily Dispatch editor Glyn Williams and son of Helen Norrie (nee Williams), a product of Clarendon High School in East London – became the prestigious BNP Parabas Open tennis champion.

The Open, also known as the Indian Wells Masters, is regarded by many as the “fifth Grand Slam”.

The tournament is part of the ATP Tour Masters 1000, a series of nine tournaments featuring the top players of the ATP Tour.

Of course, the many friends of Glyn and his daughter Helen will be basking in the warm glow of reflected glory of Cameron’s achievement.

Norrie has been on the verge of breaking into the “big time,” this being his sixth appearance in a final this year, equalled only by the legendary Novak Djokovic.

The young man, born in Johannesburg to Helen and David Norrie, both biologists, was brought up in New Zealand where he excelled in various sporting codes before deciding on tennis.

However, new Zealand tennis could not afford to nurture this burgeoning talent so with the blessing of his parents, who had sacrificed much financially to help their son in his quest for tennis fame, he accepted an offer from UK tennis authorities to train at the Roehampton tennis complex near London.

Events in the young man’s life then moved swiftly.

He was offered a scholarship by Texas Christian University and over the next few years won four All American awards, the highest sporting accolade American universities can bestow on a student.

It is just reward for dedication and an extremely hard working ethic

He also had the singular distinction of being ranked the No 1 USA college player.

He has now rewarded his mentors by elevating himself into the top 20 tennis professionals in the world and has also usurped Daniel Evans as Briton’s top ranked player.

A delighted Glyn Williams said of his grandson’s accomplishment: “[My wife] Joan and I are absolutely delighted that Cameron has won this prestigious tennis title. It is just reward for dedication and an extremely hard working ethic.

“From the age of seven he has never grumbled, never shirked a training session or coaching even on the coldest of mornings, grabbing a shower, some breakfast before dashing off to school.”

For the record, in his match against Georgian rival Nikolol Basilashvili, Norrie came back from being 3-6 down in the opening set to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

He thus became the first player from Great Britain to lift this trophy, achieving what other illustrious Brits like Andy Murray, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski all failed to do. The cherry on the top? A pay cheque of roughly R17.5m.

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